Radware Bot Manager review and alternatives

Radware Bot Manager is a cloud-based protection system for Web applications. The system was acquired by Radware when it purchased ShieldSquare in 2019. ShieldSquare was at the forefront of the bot management market.

The Bot Manager operates as an API. This means that it can be integrated into other software packages and it can be added to existing Web applications and websites with one line of code. There are other deployment options as well and we shall look into those.

Here is our list of the five best alternatives to Redware Bot Manager:

  1. Cloudflare Bot Manager This bot detection and protection system is bundled in with other useful services for websites and web applications. This is a cloud-based service and it is available in free and paid versions.
  2. DataDome A bot detection system that operates on packets and detects both traffic attacks and Application Layer activity, such as fraud attempts. This is a cloud-based system.
  3. Indusface AppTrana Web Application Firewall A cloud-based bot blocker that is combined with a vulnerability manager and a content delivery network.
  4. Reblaze Bot Management A proxy system that filters out malicious traffic before it reaches your Web server.
  5. Imperva Web Application Firewall An edge service that bundles a range of protection services that includes a bot management system. Available as a SaaS service, a physical or virtual appliance, or for installation on a private cloud.

Radware protection

The Radware Bot Manager can scan through traffic packet by packet. It operates both at the technical level and the Application Layer.

The system examines the structure of incoming packets, identifying the typical strategies used for DDoS attacks. It compiles lists of sources of malicious traffic, identifying each device through browser fingerprinting. This strategy notes a range of factors about the browser and the device that carries it, such as operating system and browser versions. A combination of many detectable factors can uniquely identify each internet-connected device.

The system stores data about each arriving packet so that it can operate at the Application Layer. These tests use AI to identify a range of activities that can be damaging to online businesses. These include account takeover, inventory hoarding, click fraud, payment, and card fraud, and content scraping.

Radware Bot Manager operations

The easy method of including a call to Radware’s cloud-based system makes the Bot Manager system ideal for mobile apps. Radware offers several more substantial services that operate as proxy services, intercepting traffic on the way to Web browsers. These services include a content delivery network and a Web application firewall.

Subscribers to either the WAF or the CDN don’t have to go through the effort of inserting a line of code to call in the Radware Bot Manager services. Instead, the Not Manager system can be switched on as an extra feature to the primary system subscribed to.

The hosted service offers more options, which include a reCAPTCHA challenge for suspected bot traffic. The system can also be set up to send back fake responses. These report to the sender that the destination address could not be found. The purpose of this is an attempt to get the bot controller to drop the target IP address or domain from its list of potential victims.

Radware Bot Manager reporting

Radware Bot Manager compiles statistics on its activities. This identifies the different types of bots that have been encountered and the volume of traffic each sent to the protected Web server.

The Radware system also compiles data on genuine traffic. That information can be stored and segmented. With the data visualization graphics in the dashboard, it is possible to see the locations of visitors and factors such as the times of days that most visits occur. You can also track the paths that visitors take through a site.

The information stored about access activity can be very useful for marketers. It is also a good option for monitoring A/B testing.

The dashboard is resident in the cloud and even though the system is implemented through an API, customers also get access to the dashboard in the platform.

Radware Bot Manager prices

Radware doesn’t publish its prices for the Bot Manager or any of the other systems that the company offers. To find out the prices for the Bot Manager and understand how the system would work for your enterprise, you need to contact the Radware Sales Department.

A good way to get to know Radware Bot Manager is to access it on a 30-day free trial.

Radware Bot Manager strengths and weaknesses

Radware Bot Manager offers an interesting delivery system that doesn’t intercept your traffic but advises your server. If you want to get all of your traffic pre-filtered to block overloading, you should take out the WAF service and get the Bot Manager as an add-on.

We have identified several strengths and weaknesses of the Radware Bot Manager service.

Pros:

  • Easy to install as a plug-in
  • The option to take the service as an add-on to the Radware WAF
  • Identifies DDoS attacks
  • Analyzes visitor behavior to spot bots
  • Option for reCAPTCHA challenge

Cons:

  • Doesn’t publish a price list
  • The API won’t prevent traffic  floods from overwhelming a server

Alternatives to Radware Bot Manager

Bots are very common on the internet and you must block them. The expansion of bot activity from DDoS attacks through to click fraud, spam email generation, and other scams means that there are many different types of defense strategies that need to be adopted to detect and block bot systems. So, there are now many different products that are available to protect Web assets from bot activity. These are all rivals to Radware Bot Manager.

What should you look for in an alternative to Radware Bot Manager? 

We reviewed the market for bot management systems like Radware Bot Manager and analyzed the tools based on the following criteria:

  • Packet scanning to spot DDoS attacks
  • Cross-packet behavior analysis
  • Activity tracking per visitor identified by browser fingerprinting
  • Reporting and logging features
  • Low false positives
  • A free trial or a demo option for a no-cost assessment opportunity
  • Value for money, represented by an extensive bot defense system at a fair price

With these selection criteria in mind, we looked for systems that can identify and block bot activity.

You can read more about each of these systems in the following sections.

1. Cloudflare Bot Manager

Cloudflare dashboard

Cloudflare offers packages of Web services that include a bot manager, a content delivery network, and SSL certificate management. The Cloudflare system is widely used and the network of more than 200 data centers around the world handles 28 million HTTP requests every second.

Key Features:

  • Fast Web application delivery
  • Continuous availability
  • Bot identification
  • DDoS protection
  • Traffic management

The Cloudflare platform provides website continuity through a content delivery network (CDN). This takes copies of a protected site and hosts it at several data centers around the world. The service makes the delivery of Web pages a lot faster because each site visitor is directed to the closest hosting location. If one host goes offline, another takes over its role temporarily. While visitors are accessing the Cloudflare servers, so is bot traffic.

With the hosting of your site in the hands of Cloudflare, the company’s task of examining incoming traffic gets a lot easier. The first action the system takes is to check the source of a connection request against a blacklist. The service detects bot activity both packet by packet and across packets. The packet-level detection can block DDoS attacks. The Application layer detection methods can track the activity on a site and assess the user’s identity. This is how complex bot actions are spotted and stopped.

The types of malicious activities that Cloudflare can stop include content scraping, credentials stuffing, inventory hoarding, and spam email. When the detection system spots bot activity, it records that visitor’s identity and shuts the connection down.

The bot identifiers extend further than just a list of IP addresses. They are derived from browser fingerprinting, which can uniquely label the source of a connection through factors such as the browser and operating system versions. The identifier goes into a global Cloudflare blacklist.

There are four plans offered for the Cloudflare Application Services bundle and the first of these is Free.

Pros:

  • Bundles many useful website protection services
  • Free SSL certificate
  • DNS service
  • Caching and CDN
  • Free version

Cons:

  • The full range of access checks can take a long time

2. DataDome

DataDome

DataDome offers a detection service for a range of bot types. Although this system is based in the cloud, it doesn’t operate as a proxy service. Instead, the user integrates a call to the service through an API. By embedding a line of code into a Web page, a mobile app, or an API, you can get a series of checks performed on each incoming packet. The API returns an instruction to pass or block each packet.

Key Features:

  • Implemented as an API
  • Protects websites, APIs, and mobile apps
  • Tracks website activity
  • Identifies DDoS attacks

The checks performed by DataDome take, on average, 2 milliseconds. They look for signs of a DDoS attack and then they record the contents of each packet so that it can be analyzed in conjunction with subsequent packets in the same connection stream. These Application-level tests look for suspicious activity by a user that would indicate bot characteristics. The types of malicious activity that the tool looks for are click fraud, account takeover, credentials stuffing, car and payment fraud, and content scraping.

DataDome is a very sophisticated system that has a menu of 15 tests. The system administrator can decide which of these checks to apply. There are also four protection modes available that provide preset combinations of tests. You can assess DataDome with a 30-day free trial.

Pros:

  • Offers 15 categories of tests
  • Preset protection modes
  • Analysis utilities
  • Fraud blocking

Cons:

  • Doesn’t reduce traffic arriving at the server
  • Expensive

3. Indusface AppTrana Web Application Firewall

AppTrana Screenshot

Indusface AppTrana provides an edge service package that includes a CDN, a firewall, and a vulnerability scanner. This combination of systems keeps your Web server inaccessible to bots and makes sure hackers don’t get any opportunities to break in.

Key Features:

  • Content delivery network
  • Vulnerability scanner
  • Bot blocker

The CDN system delivers your website from the Indusface servers, so neither genuine visitors nor bots ever actually get to your Web server. The AppTrana system will access your server periodically to check for changes in your site and update the version that it holds. AppTrana also periodically scans your system from an external viewpoint, probing for security weaknesses.

With the code from your websites hosted on the Indusface servers, the bot detection system can work in-house. As well as absorbing DDoS attacks, the package applies AI inference to spot Application-level attacks, such as click fraud and inventory hoarding. The system’s visitor behavior analysis can also identify account takeover and fraudulent activity.

As well as the standard package of service, called AppTrana Advance, Indusface offers a managed service, which is called AppTrana Premium. This is a good offer for businesses that don’t have their cybersecurity experts on the payroll. Both levels of service provide PCI DSS compliance. Assess AppTrana with a 14-day free trial of AppTrana.

Pros:

  • Cloud-based
  • Fast visitor verification
  • Failover protection

Cons:

  • No on-site version

4. Reblaze Bot Management

Reblaze Bot Management

Reblaze Bot Management is a cloud service that acts as a distributed proxy server. It ensures that it gets all of the traffic destined for your Web server. As packets pass through the Reblaze system, it performs deep packet inspection and blocks DDoS traffic. This malicious traffic absorption removes the danger of your Web server getting overwhelmed.

Key Features:

  • Content distribution network
  • DDoS absorption
  • Four-phase inspection

The DDoS blocker is the first of four test phases in the Reblaze system. The other three relate to Application Layer attacks, which require multi-packet inspection. The detection process involves AI-based behavior analysis, which identifies impersonation fraud, credentials stuffing, and click fraud.

The architecture of Reblaze is a little complicated because the service includes a CDN, so, in reality, traffic will go to the Reblaze servers and not yours. However, the package is implemented through a software package that you install on your cloud account – for example, with AWS, GCP, or Azure. Doubtless, the CDN will access your Web server directly for updates and never need to send traffic through to either your Web server or the private cloud-resident module.

The main attraction of the Reblaze system is that it removes the risk of your Web server being attacked and it is also very fast. On average, it completes those four security scans in  0.5 milliseconds.

The dashboard for the Reblaze Bot Management system offers reporting and traffic analysis features that will help you to identify the buyer journey through your sites. Reblaze is available for a 30-day free trial.

Pros:

  • Fast security scanning
  • Web server protection
  • Traffic analysis

Cons:

  • No price list

5. Imperva Web Application Firewall

Imperva Web Application Firewall

Imperva Web Application Firewall is a prominent protection system for Web applications. It relies heavily on the reCAPTCHA challenge and that makes it more suitable for website protection than for backend systems, such as APIs and mobile apps microservices.

Key Features:

  • DDoS protection
  • Application-level bot detection
  • User account defense

The WAF package includes Advanced Bot Protection that gives you DDoS blocking and Application-level activity tracking. The Imperva system aims to detect and prevent scalping, inventory hoarding, payment, and card fraud, account takeover, click fraud, credentials stuffing, and content scraping.

As well as forming the core of the Imperva WAF, the bot protection system is also available within the Imperva CDN service. The WAF can produce reports and generate log records that can be interfaced through to SIEM systems.

Deployment options for the Imperva WAF include Imperva Cloud WAF, which is a hosted system that acts like a proxy server. The package is also available as Imperva WAF Gateway, which is delivered as a physical device or a virtual appliance. It is also possible to host the system on an AWS account. Imperva offers a 30-day free trial of its service bundle that includes the WAF, a CDN, and bot protection.

Pros:

  • Offers combinations of bot protection and CDN
  • Detects a long list of bot activity
  • A range of deployment options

Cons:

  • Needs to be fine-tuned to prevent excessive reCAPTCHA usage